The legendary Kapoor: Shammi Kapoor

Born to the reputed Kapoor family, Shammi Kapoor, since childhood has been a star. Why wouldn’t he be? Afterall, his father was Prithviraj Kapoor. He had 2 siblings who were also film stars, Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor. Shammi, in his entire Bollywood journey has given too many hits and was the leading star of Hindi cinema during the late 1950s, the 1960s and early 1970s. 
 

Being a part of the Kapoor family didn’t give him the luxury to debut in films at once. He struggled for years to carve his niche in Bollywood. His career began as he started working for his father’s Prithvi Theatre as a junior artist at a monthly salary of Rs.50. Only after 4 years, he went for a job change drawing a salary of Rs.300 in 1952

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He made his debut with Mahesh Kaul’s Jeevan Jyoti opposite Chand Usmani after which he never looked back. He established heroines like Madhubala, Nutan, Shyama and Nalini Jaywant. The film Tumsa Nahin Dekha in 1957 was a turning point in his career. Later, with Dil Deke Dekho, he completely changed the way a film star looked and his perspective on films

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His shouts of “Yahoo” and hip-shaking dance moves made him the “Rebel Star”. He created a niche for himself with his unique dance moves and came to be known as the Elvis Presley of India 

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Shammiji fell in love with Nutan and they decided to get married but things didn’t actually work out between them due to family pressure. It was in 1953, when Shammi Kapoor, along with brothers Raj Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor went to Sri Lanka for a star-studded cricket match, he met Nadia Gamal. Nadia wanted to settle in Egypt while Shammiji was still working in films in Mumbai. The distance between the 2 eventually increased and they didn’t end up together

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Shammiji then met Geeta Bali on the sets of the film, Rangeen Raatein. The shooting for the film took place in Kumaon, Uttarakhand and within weeks, the two fell in love with each other. After Shammi and Geeta Bali returned to their homes in Mumbai, they realized they could not live without each other. But the two were very fearful of confessing their love for each other. Both married in 1955 and were blessed with 2 children – Aditya and Kanchan

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While shooting for Teesri Manzil, his wife Geeta Bali fell ill with small pox and passed away. Shattered Shammi went into a shell only to return after months on the sets to shoot for the emotional “Tumne Mujhe Dekha Hokar Meharbaan…” since Shammi was too devastated and the kids needed a mother, Neila Devi who belonged to the royal family of the kingdom of Bhavnagar married  Shammi in January.  27th Jan, 1969, is when Shammi Kapoor and Neila Devi got married

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With the advent of 1970s, he successfully turned to playing character roles and created his own style in playing elderly roles. Though he had played the romantic lead with Saira Banu in several films, he convincingly played her father in Zameer. He enjoyed directing Manoranjan which was based on a French play Irma La Douce and Bundalbaaz

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Shortly before his death, he made his last film appearance in Imtiaz Ali's Rockstar 2011 co-starring his grand-nephew Ranbir Kapoor, the grandson of his brother Raj Kapoor

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Shammi Kapoor was always ahead of the times be it his flair for technology or his directorial ventures. He was one of the first celebrities to have mastered the internet. He was the Founder and Chairman of Internet Users Community of India and put in a lot of efforts to enable the setting up of Ethical Hackers Association

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To honor Shammi Kapoor, a brass statue of his was unveiled at Walk of the Stars at Bandra Bandstand in Mumbai

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